Marcella Hazan’s Lasagna

You may have read in my Roma & München blog post that I missed out on the famous lasagna at Tavernaccia da Bruno while in Rome so Robert and I decided that, once back in Stuttgart, we would make Marcella Hazan’s classic lasagna with bechamel and bolognese sauce. Hazan is by-far my favorite Italian cookbook author. I make her easy tomato sauce at least once a week. My favorite book by her is The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, which is where we found this lasagna recipe. I bought this book in Florence, Italy in 2001 while studying abroad so it also carries a lot of special memories. Here I will include the recipe with photos.


First, we made the Bolognese sauce. Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 45g / 1.5oz butter
  • 85g / 3oz onion, chopped
  • 3 sticks  celery, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 350g / 12oz ground beef
  • 250ml / 8oz whole milk
  • nutmeg
  • 250ml / 8oz white wine
  • 500g / 1lb + 2oz canned Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with juices

The first step is to chop the carrots, celery, and onion. Then, add the butter, oil, and onions to a medium-heat pan (I used Le Creuset) and cook the onions until translucent. Then, add the carrots and celery and cook altogether for a few minutes. Add the ground beef to the mixture and salt immediately, separate with a fork, and cook until no longer raw. Add a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg. Then, add the milk and cook until the milk completely boils away.

Then, add the white wine and tomatoes and let simmer for at least three hours. The waiting is tough as it already smells so good! And, that’s it for the Bolognese sauce! Just wait, wait, wait… 🙂


Then, when the Bolognese sauce is ~10 minutes from being finished, get started on the Bechamel sauce.

Ingredients for Bechamel sauce:

  • 450ml / 3/4pint milk
  • 50g / 2oz butter
  • 47g / 1+3/4oz flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Add the milk to a pot and bring just to the verge of boiling. While heating the milk, melt the butter in a separate saucepan and then turn the heat down to low. Add the flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Add the hot milk (a couple of spoonfuls at a time) to the flour/butter mixture and continue stirring. Once all ingredients are incorporated, turn the heat down to low, add salt, and stir until the sauce has the consistency of sour cream. Done! Finally, add the bechamel sauce to the bolognese sauce and stir well.

Now it’s time to assemble the lasagna and stick it in the oven!

Ingredients for Lasagna:

  • Lasagna noodles (fresh or store-bought)
  • Butter (for greasing the baking dish)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese , shredded (for the top of the lasagna before baking and serving)

Cook the lasagna noodles in salted boiling water according the directions on the package if store-bought, or for just a few seconds if using fresh pasta. Once boiled, rinse the pasta in cold water and lay flat. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400ºF. Grease the lasagna pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with lasagna noodles. Spread a thin layer of the bechamel-bolognese sauce on the noodles and top with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat the last few steps until you have at least 6 layers of pasta — make sure to reserve enough bechamel-bolognese sauce for the top layer. Once complete, sprinkle the top with Parmigiano-Reggiano and a few dollops of butter. Bake for 10-15 minutes…and ENJOY!!



Roma & München

For the last week, Robert and I enjoyed some quality family time with my father and sister, both visiting us from the States (Chicago and Milwaukee, respectively). We spent a few days in Rome, Italy, a couple of days here in Stuttgart, and a final couple of days in Munich.

My dad rented a pretty amazing 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom Airbnb penthouse in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome. I didn’t take nearly enough photos of the interior to do it justice, but here is a view from our bedroom as well as a couple of more decorative (Hepburn & Chaplin) shots from the apartment:

The neighborhood (Trastevere) is the place to be when in Rome. Not only is it really cute and quaint — think narrow cobblestone streets with lots of green ivy, leafy trees, and clothes hanging on outdoor lines — but it’s also the go-to spot for shopping and dining in Rome. Oh, and did I fail to mention the street art?! Lots and lots of that too. Here are some pics:

I can’t talk about a trip to Rome (or Italy, for that matter) without including a few photos and words about the food. While I believe that all of the pasta and pizza, even at mediocre or unknown establishments, is much better than we have in the States or in Germany, two restaurants stood out: Pierluigi and Tavernaccia da Bruno. Pierlugi is known for their seafood, and for very good reason. Highly recommend! It’s also a bit off the beaten path and has a big outdoor patio in the warmer months. I read about Bruno in an article called The Pinnacle of Pasta:  The Top 9 Best Pasta Dishes in Rome by bon appétit online. Unfortunately, the night that we visited (Saturday) the famous lasagna was not available — our waiter explained that it’s only available on Sunday – FYI! Instead, I had the carbonara, which was not as satisfying since I had been dreaming about that lasagna for months. I love my eggs and bacon (carbonara) with spaghetti (typical) and instead it was served with a tube-like pasta, tortiglioni perhaps. So, word to the wise: visit Bruno on Sunday and order the famous baked lasagna. As promised, here is some food porn from Rome:

We also did a lot of walking around and saw a couple of the major sites: The Parthenon and the Trevi Fountain.

After a few nights in Rome, we headed back to Stuttgart for a couple of days. My sister stayed with us and we were so happy to host her! We weren’t here for long, but made enough time to visit the Schlossplatz, do some shopping, eat flammkuchen at La Tonneau, spatzle at Zum Spätzleschwob, and end our time here with a really nice dinner at Speisekammer West.

Next stop: Munich. We drove, instead of taking the train, which took about 2 hours from Stuttgart (we got lucky – no traffic!) We stayed at the beautiful Le Meridien hotel, which is located just across the street from the main train station. We spent most of our time walking around, shopping, and eating — no big surprise, I’m sure. 🙂 We had coffee at the famous Cafe Tambosi, walked through the Viktualienmarkt outdoor food market, and ate duck and pork shank at Augustiner Klosterwirt. I really love Munich and wish we could have spent more time there as there is so much more to explore. Here are a few photos from our time there: